We have no quantitative research data to document that these visits are actually helpful to patients in any measurable way, although we certainly hope to have some soon. However, observations of staff members and evaluations from participants in the program have been quite positive thus far. The program has been in place for more than 2 years, and about 30 pets have visited so far, including 28 dogs and 2 cats. Implementing a pet visitation program for critically ill patients affords healthcare providers the opportunity to offer a unique and humanistic therapeutic intervention to appropriate patients. Although it is a time-consuming endeavor, it has been well received by those patients and families that have participated in pet visits. Critically ill patients are often denied many simple pleasures because they are in physiological crisis. Such patients experience loneliness, isolation, depression, and lack of emotional support. Pet visitation is one way to address these common problems of ICU patients. For this reason, pet visitation will remain a therapeutic option for the support of our critically ill patients.

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